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Sonoma IndyCar: Will Power finally wins again in contentious race

Will Power wins Sonoma IndyCar race 2013

Will Power ended a 16-month winless streak with his victory in a controversial IndyCar race at Sonoma.

The Penske driver crossed the line 1.1 seconds ahead of Justin Wilson.

But most talk afterwards was of the pitlane collision between Scott Dixon and three members of Power's pit crew that resulted in a penalty for the New Zealander, relegating him to 15th on an afternoon that he'd otherwise controlled.

The incident happened when Dixon was exiting his pit box and clipped a tyre being carried by Power's right-rear tyre changer, skittling he and two other crew members.

None were hurt, and there were wildly differing opinions regarding whether Dixon had any opportunity to avoid the Penske personnel. But race control decided against the Ganassi driver, summoning him in for a penalty that initially dropped him to 21st.

Up to that point Dixon had been the dominant driver of the afternoon, and his exit proved to be a boon for his two closest title rivals in Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Both men had stood to lose a huge pile of points to the Kiwi, and instead came out of the weekend having extended their advantage.

Power kept himself in the hunt with the help of some aggressive restarts - one perhaps too aggressive in the view of Dario Franchitti - but Wilson took a very different route to second place.

The Brit had gone against the grain by starting on the black tyres, and then had his pit strategy thrown into disarray when he was turned around early on and stopped out of sequence.

But the combination of late-race cautions, a good car from Dale Coyne Racing and, during a couple of key points, better tyres than the guys around him allowed him to work himself back into contention.

Sonoma IndyCar race 2013

It was a more frustrating afternoon for Franchitti, who had led early on but then made a mistake and conceded a spot to Dixon.

The Scot admitted later that he would have fought harder had it been anyone other than his team-mate trying to pass him.

Later, he was forced onto the grass by Power on a restart, a move that he felt should have earned the Australian a penalty.

A Sonoma record of seven cautions punctuated the afternoon, although Sebastian Saavedra was the only driver to exit the race as the result of contact. The Colombian hit the barrier at Turn 9 after being tagged by James Davison.

Debutant Lucas Luhr's day in the second Sarah Fisher entry was cut short by a late mechanical problem.

Results - 85 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Engine           Time/Gap
 1.  Will Power          Penske/Chevy     2h20m46.8226s
 2.  Justin Wilson       Coyne/Honda           +1.1930s
 3.  Dario Franchitti    Ganassi/Honda         +3.4036s
 4.  Marco Andretti      Andretti/Chevy        +4.1266s
 5.  Simon Pagenaud      Schmidt/Honda         +4.7042s
 6.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Andretti/Chevy        +5.1074s
 7.  Helio Castroneves   Penske/Chevy          +8.5383s
 8.  James Hinchcliffe   Andretti/Chevy        +9.0231s
 9.  Simon de Silvestro  KV/Chevy              +9.2858s
10.  Sebastien Bourdais  Dragon/Chevy         +11.2082s
11.  Graham Rahal        Rahal/Honda          +12.0359s
12.  Tristan Vautier     Schmidt/Honda        +15.1056s
13.  Tony Kanaan         KV/Chevy             +17.7606s
14.  EJ Viso             Andretti/Chevy       +18.5207s
15.  Scott Dixon         Ganassi/Honda        +20.2165s
16.  JR Hildebrand       Herta/Honda          +20.7611s
17.  Ryan Briscoe        Panther/Chevy        +29.4788s
18.  James Davison       Coyne/Honda          +43.7768s
19.  Ed Carpenter        Carpenter/Chevy         +1 lap
20.  Charlie Kimball     Ganassi/Honda          +2 laps


     Sebastian Saavedra  Dragon/Chevy           81 laps
     Lucas Luhr          Fisher/Honda           81 laps
     Takuma Sato         Foyt/Honda             67 laps
     Josef Newgarden     Fisher/Honda           56 laps
     James Jakes         Rahal/Honda            28 laps

All drivers use Dallara DW12 chassis
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